No way to treat a Viet­nam vet

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “An­other fight of his life for Viet­nam vet,” col­umn, Nov. 12

For decades, while prais­ing the valor and sac­ri­fice of vet­er­ans, our politi­cians have skimped on ben­e­fits and erected bar­ri­ers to health­care for the very same vet­er­ans. World War II and Korean War vet­er­ans re­ceived de­cent post-ser­vice ben­e­fits, but those who fought in later wars got the wrong end of the stick.

Is it re­ally too much to ask that med­i­cal cov­er­age and other ben­e­fits for vet­er­ans and their im­me­di­ate fam­i­lies be free for life? I think most Amer­i­cans would be will­ing to make the small in­di­vid­ual sac­ri­fice nec­es­sary to cover vet­er­ans’ med­i­cal and ed­u­ca­tional costs and en­sure their avail­abil­ity as par­tial re­pay­ment for their ser­vice.

I am not a vet­eran, nor do I have any sur­viv­ing vet­er­ans in my fam­ily, so I would not per­son­ally ben­e­fit if we do this. It’s sim­ply the right thing to do. Chuck Alm­dale

North Hills

Steve Lopez’s ar­ti­cle on Marine Ken Wil­liams’ fight against can­cer and fed­eral bu­reau­cracy ref­er­enced a Vet­er­ans Af­fairs of­fi­cial who said the re­newed at­ten­tion to Agent Or­ange was the re­sult of me­dia “hype” and “hys­te­ria.” I ask that of­fi­cial to spend a day with fam­i­lies with dis­abled chil­dren who are suf­fer­ing the tragic con­se­quences of ex­po­sure to this herbicide.

Our trust in the VA pre­sumes hon­esty and truth. How has the VA lost those crit­i­cally im­por­tant traits?

More im­por­tantly, it is bad enough that Wil­liams has to bear the cross of his ex­po­sure; it is far worse to think that we are the cause of our chil­dren’s pain. We may have left Viet­nam, but Viet­nam has not left us. Frank Barry

Hunt­ing­ton Beach The writer chairs the Viet­nam Vet­er­ans of Amer­ica’s eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties com­mit­tee.

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